Andromeda (mythology)

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Andromeda was a princess from Greek mythology who, as divine punishment for her mother's bragging, (the Boast of Cassiopeia) was chained to a rock as a sacrifice to a sea monster. She was saved from death by Perseus, her future husband. Her name is the Latinized form of the Greek Ἀνδρομέδη (Andromédē). The traditional etymology of the name is "to think of a man," from ἀνήρ, ἀνδρός (anēr, andrós) "man" combined with μήδομαι (mēdomai) "to think, to be mindful of."

The subject has been popular in art since classical times. In the Christian period the subject was converted into the legend of St George and the Dragon, but from the Renaissance interest revived in the original story, typically as derived from Ovid's account.

Contents

Myth

In Greek mythology, Andromeda was the daughter of Cepheus and Cassiopeia, king and queen of the kingdom Ethiopia.

Her mother Cassiopeia boasted that she was more beautiful than the Nereids, the nymph-daughters of the sea god Nereus and often seen accompanying Poseidon. To punish the Queen for her arrogance, Poseidon, brother to Zeus and god of the Sea, sent a sea monster (Cetus) to ravage the coast of Ethiopia including the kingdom of the vain Queen. The desperate King consulted the Oracle of Apollo, who announced that no respite would be found until the king sacrificed his virgin daughter Andromeda to the monster. She was chained naked to a rock on the coast.

Perseus was returning from having slain the Gorgon Medusa, he found Andromeda and slew Cetus by turning him to stone. He set her free, and married her in spite of Andromeda having been previously promised to her uncle Phineus. At the wedding a quarrel took place between the rivals, and Phineus was turned to stone by the sight of the Gorgon's head (Ovid, Metamorphoses v. 1).

Andromeda followed her husband to Tiryns in Argos, and together they became the ancestors of the family of the Perseidae through the line of their son Perses. Perseus and Andromeda had seven sons: Perseides, Perses, Alcaeus, Heleus, Mestor, Sthenelus, and Electryon, and one daughter, Gorgophone. Their descendants ruled Mycenae from Electryon down to Eurystheus, after whom Atreus attained the kingdom, and would also include the great hero Heracles. According to this mythology, Perseus is the ancestor of the Persians.

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